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Hamas released a 13-year-old hostage but not her mom, despite promising not to separate them

Hila Rotem Shoshani with her uncle on November 26, 2023.
Hila Rotem Shoshani with her uncle on November 26, 2023.The Israeli Army via AP
  • Hamas released Hila Rotem Shoshani, 13, on Saturday.

  • Despite Hamas agreeing not to separate parents from their children, Hila's mom remains in captivity.

  • Israeli officials have been exerting pressure to secure the mother's release, per reports.

On Saturday, Hamas released a 13-year-old Israeli girl, Hila Rotem Shoshani, who had been held in captivity in Gaza since the October 7 terror attack.

But her mother, Raya, remains in captivity, despite Hamas vowing not to separate children from their parents as part of the truce agreement, according to Israeli media.

Saturday's releases, which were temporarily delayed due to Hamas accusing Israel of violating the terms of the agreement, ultimately resulted in the freeing of 13 Israeli hostages — all women and children.

But Raya, 53, was not among them.

Israeli media outlet Ynet reported that Mossad — Israeli's spy agency — had unsuccessfully exerted pressure in recent days to secure her release.

According to CNN, Israeli officials who demanded that the mother be released are unsure where she is or what condition she is in.

Hila's uncle, Yair Rotem, told reporters this weekend that he does not believe Hamas' claim that they do not know where the girl's mother is.

He told The Times of Israel that Hila said she had been held hostage with her mother until being separated two days before her release.

He said the teenager told them that her mom had cut her hair and spent time with her during their captivity, according to the Times.

"Hila returned without her mother and that is a clear violation of the agreement with Hamas," Yair Rotem said, speaking from Sheba Hospital, where his niece was being examined on Saturday night.

"We demand from Hamas and the mediators that Raya be returned home as they agreed, immediately," he added.

Rotem also told the Times: "Israel has to say this is unacceptable. You don't separate a girl from her mother."

A representative for Hamas in Qatar, who is involved with the hostage-release negotiations, did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Hila and her mom were kidnapped from a safe room in their home in Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7.

According to The Times of Israel, the mother texted her brother around noon, telling him that she and her daughter were being taken to Gaza.

The family didn't hear from them again that day, and only learned on October 29, weeks later, that the mother and daughter were in captivity.

A spokesperson for Israel's Prime Minister's Office did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Monday marks the fourth and potentially final day of the Israel-Hamas truce, in which Israeli hostages are being freed in exchange for a cease-fire and the release of Palestinian prisoners and detainees.

According to CNN, both Israel and Hamas have expressed an interest in extending the truce, but this could be complicated by reports that the militant group is struggling to locate all of the hostages held in Gaza.

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